Children still enjoy rolling down hills and getting muddy despite being digital generation

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And despite today’s children being labelled the digital generation and viewed as tech-obsessed hermits by many, 58 percent of children love being outside – even when it’s raining. But not all parents share the same view, as 28 percent admitted they will only venture outdoors with their little ones when the weather is nice.

It also emerged that other popular aspects of getting outside for children include having an ice cream, collecting shells and stones, and looking for tadpoles in ponds.

The research was commissioned by publisher Penguin Random House UK, to launch its campaign Peter Rabbit – Friend to Nature with ambassador Laura Brand.

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A series of nature-based activities is being shared every Friday in July to provide parents with inspiration for enjoying the outdoors with their little ones this summer.

Brand said: “Being outdoors is an exciting place to be – there is so much to explore and to do – the possibilities are endless.

“So, it’s wonderful to see that so many kids have a love of nature and enjoy the open air – a view which might surprise those who think children only want to stare at screens.

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“The research has also provided another noteworthy outcome – parents or guardians are clearly integral to their little one’s enjoyment of the great outdoors.”

Other popular outdoorsy activities include building sandcastles, finding colourful flowers, and building dens. Rolling down hills is another favourite, as are going on nature trails, and finding the biggest tree to climb.

A straightforward run around also goes down well, and so does riding their bike – in fact this emerged as the top thing kids like to do outside.

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And few children are likely to turn down the chance to enjoy an ice cream or a tasty picnic – both of which also made the top 20. 

All of this will be music to the ears of mums and dads with a whopping 92 percent agreeing that playing outside is important for their child’s development.

However, 79 percent admitted they want their kids to spend more time outdoors than they currently do.

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So parents are trying to ignite a passion among their children for being outside – by teaching them ‘outdoor skills’ like riding a bike, bird watching, and surfing (59 percent).

Around six in 10 (57 percent) let their offspring help them while they’re gardening and 42 percent read classic outdoors-orientated books.

It seems to be having the desired impact through as given the choice, 68 percent of kids prefer being outside over being inside, according to the OnePoll figures.

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Izzy Richardson of Penguin Random House, which will mark Peter Rabbit’s 120th birthday next year through a series of picnic parties, said: “With a host of digital technology and games consoles available to modern children it’s easy to forget that kids do actually like being outside.

“Of course, for parents, thinking of outdoors activities to enjoy as a family can be a struggle but as the research shows children have amazing imaginations and find enjoyment in the littlest of things.

“That said there are ways to enhance their experience of the outdoors even more which is why we have launched this series of filmed Peter Rabbit activities with Laura Brand, which we hope will inspire children and parents alike.”

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TOP 20 BEST THINGS ABOUT BEING OUTDOORS – ACCORDING TO CHILDREN

1.           Riding my bike

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2.           Running around

3.           Having an ice cream

4.           Spending time with mum/dad

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5.           Having a picnic

6.           Feeding ducks

7.           Climbing trees

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8.           Jumping in puddles

9.           Collecting shells and stones

10.         Exploring a forest

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11.         Playing hide and seek

12.         Building sandcastles

13.         Jumping in the waves

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14.         Rolling down hills

15.         Rope swings

16.         Seeing wild animals

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17.         Going on nature trails

18.         Getting muddy

19.         Building a den in the woods

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20.         Seeing colourful flowers

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